When you purchase a liquor license in New Jersey, as a Buyer you must be approved by the State of New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Municipality where the business operates. This process is detailed and time consuming. it must be started as soon as possible by the Buyer. You will need to obtain a Person to Person Transfer of the liquor license. Unless and until the municipality issues a resolution approving of the transfer of the liquor license, the current license holder must operate the business.
In order to be approved, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
a) 18 years of age or older;
b) No conviction for any crime of moral turpitude;
c) Full disclosure of all beneficial interests in the License to be transferred;
d) No ownership of nor an officer or director of any corporation that is a New Jersey alcoholic beverage manufacturer or wholesaler;
e) The application cannot have an interest in more than two retail licenses, except as otherwise permitted under N.J.S. 33:1-12;
f) Must not be ineligible for licensure for 2 years or more because of prior revocation; and
g) Not be a law enforcement officer or any other person whose powers and duties include the enforcement of the New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control laws or regulations, or holds an interest in nor is an officer in a for-profit corporation in which any peace or police officer has a direct or indirect interest.
If the applicant meets the above requirements, the first step in obtaining approval of the transfer is filing a complete 12 page application form with the municipality. An example of a transfer application can be found here, but this form should be obtained from the municipality where the license is located. This application must be submitted in triplicate with the fees as required by the municipality. It is important that this form is completed properly and includes all required information along with the following documentation:
– A Consent to Transfer signed by the license holder;
– A Disclosure Statement of the applicant listing the sources of funding for the purchase of the license;
– Federal and State Fingerprint reports from the municipal police;
– Background check reports from the police;
– A detailed sketch of the premises – including a photo of the exterior of the premises;
– An Affidavit of Publication
– A Certificate of Sales Tax Authority;
– An Application for Bulk Sale Permit;
– A Letter from the Buyer’s attorney – notification of closing date to the local municipal issuing authority;
After the required documentation has been submitted and reviewed, the municipality will schedule a hearing where the applicants are required to appear before the board or governing body. The municipality cannot approve a person to person transfer unless it approves by resolution that the submitted application is complete in all respects. Then, if satisfied, the municipal issuing authority will issue a Resolution of Transfer. This Resolution cannot be contingent upon some other event occurring, and once a Resolution is issued, it cannot be rescinded.
When the municipality schedules the hearing, the applicant must publish a public notice in a local newspaper which states the name of the transferee, the address of premises, the type of license, the license number, and the name of the transferor. In order to ensure that the public notice meets the municipalities exact requirements, the applicant should inquire of the municipality where the notice should be published and if the municipality has any additional requirements for the public notice of the specific license being transferred.
Upon approval of the transfer, the municipal clerk must endorse the existing license on its face stating the date of the transfer, the name of the transferee and the address where the license will be used. The endorsed license must be displayed at the premises.
If you are selling or purchasing a liquor license, or a business which holds a liquor license, call (973) 890-0004 or e-mail is for knowledgeable representation and assistance in navigating this complex process.